Social Light: The Art of Wedding Design 2011

 The Social Light event that was held Sunday March 27, 2011 took place at the JW Ihilani Marriott and was the dream of Finishing Touch Hawaii founder, Sandra Williams.

I am a client of Finishing Touch Hawaii, they are the ones helping to coordinate my wedding.  I found out about this event from my wedding coordinator, Tristin.

I will admit it was a long day, more like a wedding event planning convention, but I expected it because I saw the itinerary and that is why I chose my Matron of Honor, Judith to accompany me to this event.  I didn’t want Josh to be there asking me when it was going to be over every ten minutes!  There were grooms-to-be there.  Bravo!  And I didn’t blame them for looking absolutely tired and sleepy by the end.  I was too, mostly because of the alcohol.  The event started at 10am and went until 6pm.

 Judith and I arrived at 9:30am in the Malolo Ballroom at the Ihilani.  We checked in, found our adorable name tags and was escorted to our seats.

The chairs at the function were all dressed up, giving us an idea as to how you can make a basic ballroom chair look fantastic at a wedding.

Right away, we were basking in the ambiance of the Manoa Strings Quartet as they played beautiful classical music.  It made me wonder if it was the right thing for Josh and I to forgo the live string quartet for our own wedding, then I thought of our budget and felt better about my decision.  🙂

A waitress gave us some freshly baked madeleines from The Cake Gallery.  And a waiter handed me a glass of “Domain Chandon Rose with Hibuscus” champagne.  I do believe it’s the earliest I’ve ever drank alcohol. I felt so decadent.

The stage set for Social Light

Judith and I ready to learn about wedding planning!

There were some goodies waiting for us at our seats.  A pink notebook/leather journal to take notes on, two pink pencils with Social Light engraved into them, a water glass with a straw embellished with our name on a flag and the event program.

The pink was oh so feminine, yet bold.  I loved it!  Such a personal touch to engrave and embellish every detail around you.  Yes, weddings are about the details for sure!

Name tag
Straw name flag

The first speakers were Robyn I’aea of Pacific Weddings Magazine and make-up artists, Jacque Rojas and salon owner, Dan Sanchez.  They all covered issues on: accessorizing a dress, hair styles, hair tips, skin and make-up tips.

The dresses showcased for the event were from Casablanca Bridal & Formals.

The models showcased dresses made by the Pronovias line and 

Monique Lhuillier.  My favorite was the first dressed a Pronovias number it’s featured below.

Gown by Pronovias at Casablanca
Bottom of dress-excuse the flags in the way!

Here they are adding a belt to the dress…love.

A side bun

After the hair, make-up, and dress showcase, Sandra Williams of Finishing Touch talked about some tips to make a wedding day run flawlessly.  I was making use of the pink notebook and pencils they gave all of us, for sure!

We had a fifteen minute break before treated to a Q & A session with Yvonne Chapman from Yvonne Design and Alex Garcia of Mood Event.  If you haven’t seen Yvonne’s website, take a peak.  Her stuff is THE stuff of dream weddings.  They covered what their companies do and the importance of lighting, design and budget too.  Throughout the day we had a taste of Yvonne’s talents and it made you realize wow, these people really worked hard to put on this event!

Right after the design session the room was divided into two groups: one group went to tour the newly renovated Ihilani Spa and the second group (that was us) headed out to the lawn area to view a design showcase.

There was an action food station serving “Manapua Taco”, which was bite-sized  seared ahi on what seemed like a toasted soft taco tortilla.  There were table top designs by Yvonne Design, cakes from The Cake Gallery, stationary sets by Bradley & Lily Fine Stationery.  The Raj tent was provided by Current Affairs.

A showcase tent on the lawn

Live music by Jon Basebase

Table top design by Yvonne Design

Wedding cakes by The Cake Gallery

The Cake Gallery
The Cake Gallery

The Cake Gallery

The Cake Gallery

Table top design by Yvonne Design
The Ihilani Spa, which I didn’t take pictures of because there were guests using the facility offers a bridal suite which can accommodate a bride and her bridal party a place to get ready at the day of the wedding.  If it’s too much being cooped up in a messy room on your wedding day, this would be a great option.

The Ihilani Spa tour ended and we walked backed to the Malolo ballroom where lunch was being served.  We were treated to a pasta station, Ihilani iced tea and a buffet!  Yum!

The lunch was so filling that I knew I would need a miracle to stay awake for the next few hours.  But the next speakers were my favorite because they covered photography and videography.  Here are a list of the speakers:

Photography Segment, Q & A:
* Dave and Michelle Miyamoto of Dave Miyamoto & Company
* Frank Amodo – I booked him as my photographer and I can’t wait to work with him.  So excited.  His work is amazing, if you haven’t seen his photos, check out his website!!

Some great tips from the photography session?
* SMILE when you cry.
* Always let them know who can’t be photographed with who-this is for those of you who have divorced parents who don’t get along, etc… 🙂

Videography Segment:
* James Chun from Crane Media – I booked them for my wedding!
* Joel Campos and Kristy Martin from Studio Red – WOW…their stuff is awesome.

This group of presenters knew how to take the mic and really showcase what they are passionate about.  I loved it.  James delivered a great story that made me and the soon to be mother-in-law sitting next to Judith tear up!  Oh geez, the video he showed us made me tear up too!  The videos Studio Red presesnted gave me goosebumps. Kristy gave a great presentation explaining the wedding cinematography history!

 I’m a very visual person and these two items, Photography and Videography was the 3rd thing on my priority list after Venue and Food when I was planning my wedding.

This is what you look back on after your wedding!  Spend the money and choose well!

The last two presenters was DJ Troy Michael who gave great insight on program planning and speeches for your wedding.  I liked his advice about saying your thank you speech in the beginning of the party, right after being introduced as Mr. & Mrs.  That way your guests don’t leave right before the dancing starts.

The last presenters were Raymond Donato and Chef Scott Higa of the Ihilani!  They did a great job hosting the Social Light event and making sure things ran smoothly.  They had to rush through their presentation because time had run out but got out lots of information in the short amount of time they had to speak.  While they spoke, more desserts were being passed out: chocolate covered strawberries anyone?

Then the moment we were all waiting for had arrived: the transformation of the Hokulani Ballroom by Yvonne Design, Les Saison, Vignette, and Mood Events.  There was also Peach Mai Tais (so good) and Coconut Cosmos being served.  We also had treats from the Chocolate Truffle Bar from Choco Essence.  For the fellas, there was a Fine Cigar Bar by Cigar Bar Hawaii.

I got my swag bag, which was  Social Light large tote bag filled with fun things like macaroons by Cake Works (these are yum), Big Island Candies, a copy of the latest Pacific Weddings magazine, and many more!  There were three big prize give aways that evening, but of course I didn’t win-I never do!

But the real treat for me was seeing Yvonne’s work.  It was heaven.

Lounge area, canopy. Whatever it is, it’s gorgeous!  I love lanterns!

This linen and colors are to DIE for…check out the overlay.

Simple, clear glass table top design.  Gorgeous.

Make the eyes move, different shapes and elements come together beautifully.

Feminine and oh so cute!

A lounge area for your guests!  Wi=-sh this was in my living

Look at the sparkly linen-amazing.

Sweetheart table-lots of candles, and love the pieces of ribbons dangling.

What a show stopper!

Linen sparkles, clear glass shines, light illuminates. It’s like white fire.

Crystal and light.
Warm, rich colors.

French Inspired-love the white and black.

Faux fur rug, pattern on pillows.


Peach Mai Tais-I sipped mine and Judith finished both since I was driving, haha.

Candle clusters-some are real and others LED, can you tell?

Unfortunately, my camera battery was dying so I didn’t take as much pictures as I had hoped.  But the day was amazing and it was information overload at some point.  Yet the next morning, I remembered MANY things about the event.  I thought about what the vendors said and their important tips.  For some reason having gone to the event, it reassured me in some sense and made me realize as one vendor said: no matter what happens, rain or shine, it’s going to be an AMAZING day.

It made me more excited for my wedding, which is in less than 4 months!  Wow.  So it helped to reinvigorate me for sure.  I’m checking things off in my head, invitations need to get finished, I need to find my shoes, still waiting for my dress to come in to do a fitting, so lots of things are coming down to the wire.

But thank you to Finishing Touch Hawaii for throwing a fabulous event.  If this was the first one and they throw another again, please, brides, attend!  Bring your mom or girlfriend or sister, even your groom if you think they can handle it-I’m glad I went it was worth what I paid for the ticket and then some!


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